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[ABUJA] Senior policymakers and experts have urged the African Union (AU) to analyse the successes and challenges of past development programmes to guide the implementation of a new strategic policy to transform the continent.  

The advice came from a meeting, known as senior expert dialogue, which was organised in Abuja, Nigeria, last month (21-22 July) by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to discuss how technologies and innovations can be effectively applied to accelerate Africa’s transformation.

The new policy — Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa-2024 (STISA-2024), which was discussed by the experts — was adopted by the AU in June this year.

“We have just ended another round of talk shop that again failed to address the fundamental issues that have made Africa to continue to remain underdeveloped.”

Oyewale Tomori, The Nigerian Academy of Science

According to the AU, STISA-2024 will address key areas such as food security, disease prevention and control, communication and wealth creation. 

The meeting in Nigeria was attended by policymakers and experts from countries such as Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

“We strongly encourage African countries and governments to provide appropriate funding level of STI up to 2 per cent of GDP [gross domestic products], improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, periodically review STI curricula in schools and encourage women in STI,” the meeting’s resolution said.

The experts said African universities and institutes have very low commitment to funding research, do not embark on demand-driven

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